Even if you weren’t invited to social media influencer Melissa C Koh (@melissackoh)’s wedding dinner at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore on Aug 12, you — along with her 235,000 Insta-followers — would’ve seen endless photos of the glitzy affair online. From the lavish décor and menu to the immaculate wedding favours and a drama-mama choreographed first dance by Melissa and her husband, James Chen, it’s the stuff of modern fairytales.
But if you were invited to the wedding, you may have been one of those who felt “cheated” because the wedding couple did not declare prior that the fancy shindig had been heavily sponsored — costs for the dinner, gowns, jewellery, and even bridesmaids' dresses were defrayed by sponsors — according to reports.
Naysayers have even gone so far to say that it was “unethical” of the couple not to declare all of this before the wedding, and even reasoned that they would’ve reconsidered the amount they'd given if they’d known.
Which leads to an age-old conundrum: how does one even decide how much to give a wedding couple? Everything from relationship with the wedding couple to 'market rates' (ie. how much the hotel typically charges per table) come into play.
Things get trickier with sponsored weddings, whether you’re a bona fide celeb or a girl-next-door-turned-social-media-butterfly. Is declaring a sponsorship any different from, say, telling guests about a discount that the newlyweds enjoyed on their wedding package for other reasons?
Ask the romantic ones and they’ll insist it’s about the celebration of the couple’s love, honey.
Ask pragmatic folks and they’ll tell you it’s an unspoken thing in Singapore, even among guests, that the wedding angpows are to help the couple offset the costs of the nuptials. God forbid you go to a local wedding and give — gasp — a gift, unless the couple has requested it.
Ask us and we’ll be the first to admit that one of the must-do’s before a wedding dinner is to Google angpow market rates for various hotels. Weigh that with how pally we are with the wedding couple (the more deep, dark secrets of ours they know, the fatter the angpow, obvs), and a ton of other factors. Tricky, we know.
And now, we’re asking you…